Revamped Royals win Niagara College Volleyball Invitational

Erika Straatsma was tournament MVP as Redeemer won the Niagara College Volleyball Invitational over the weekend.  (Photo:  Redeemer Royals)It didn’t take long for the new-look Redeemer Royals Women’s Volleyball team to make a splash in the OCAA.

In their first tournament in the young 2010-2011 varsity season, the Lady Royals proved they have come a long way from the 7-13 team that finished outside of a playoff spot during their 2009-2010 campaign. Redeemer took home a first place finish and the hardware at this past weekends Niagara College Volleyball Invitational. The Royals beat Georgian College in the finals 3-2 for the Tournament Championship.

With a young squad with many new faces as well as a number of changes in the coaching staff, the Lady Royals are poised to turn the program around and return to a playoff and Provincial Championship contending team.

Doug Veldman has taken over as the Head Coach of the program after long time coach John Byl finished his final year after the 2009-2010 season. Pamela Donker joins the staff as an assistant coach while last years assistant Kyle Spyksma returns again for his 2nd season.

The Royals are returning their leading point producer from last year in Erika Straatsma and a number of 3rd and 4th year veterans. However, the Lady Royals have added a ton of young talent over the off-season of which some will make an immediate impact. Andrea Tiel, a 1st year from Winnipeg, Manitoba backed up a strong recruiting year by being named a Tournament All-Star at this past weekends Invitational. Erika Straatsma took home Tournament MVP honors.

The only defeat for the Lady Royals at the Niagara Invitational came in their very first game when they dropped to 0-1 with a 3-1 loss to Georgian College (23-25, 28-26, 25-21, 25-22) in a very close match. From there, the Royals went undefeated beating volleyball powerhouse Algonquin College 3-2 (26-24, 25-22, 18-25, 23-25, 15-7) and the host team Niagara 3-1 (25-16, 25-14, 16-25, 25-19).

In the semi-finals the women once again faced the host and had little trouble moving on to the finals with a 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-16, 25-20). In the finals, the women were up against Georgian College, the only team they had lost to all weekend. In a very close and exciting match that saw Redeemer battle back from being down twice (1-0, 2-1) the Royals took game 4 and 5 for the 3-2 win and the Tournament Championship.